Outlaw nation

The US continues to flout the law, while (hypocritically) demanding that other countries adhere to international agreements:

The World Trade Organization has ruled that US tariffs imposed on Chinese goods, starting in 2018, violated global trade rules — in a rebuke of Donald Trump’s multiyear commercial confrontation with Beijing.

The decision by a panel of judges from the WTO’s dispute settlement body, which was revealed on Tuesday, found that the US had flouted its commitments to the Geneva-based trade body on several counts when it imposed levies on $360bn of Chinese imports.

The WTO panel ruled that US tariffs were discriminatory and excessive, and Washington did not justify an exemption that would have allowed them. It also rejected the US claim that it was pursuing a settlement with China outside the WTO, saying instead the negotiations between Washington and Beijing were parallel to the legal proceedings.

Here is Scott Lincicome on China’s willingness to comply with WTO rules:

Furthermore, Bacchus, Lester, and Zhu demonstrate that when China loses WTO disputes, it tends to comply with the decisions:

“Of the 27 matters litigated against China, 5 are still pending, 12 were litigated all the way through, and 10 were resolved through some kind of settlement, or not pursued after the measure was modified. These cases addressed a wide range of issues: export restrictions, subsidies, intellectual property protection, discriminatory taxes, trading rights, services, and trade remedies. In all 22 completed cases, with one exception where a complaint was not pursued, China’s response was to take some action to move toward greater market access.”

Chinese compliance is not perfect (nor is any other WTO member’s), but it is arguably better than that of the United States, which has famously shirked WTO rulings on subsidies, antidumping rules, and internet gambling.